Apr 27, 2020 - World

Leaders around the world consolidate control as virus spreads

He's No. 1. Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen. Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

The world has rarely been more ripe for power grabs, and Hungary's Viktor Orbán is not the only leader taking advantage.

The big picture: Emergency laws in Serbia and Cambodia also provide leaders near-total power, while governments elsewhere are using the virus as cover to crack down on the media, opposition or minorities, the Economist reports.

  • China chose now to arrest Hong Kong’s leading pro-democracy activists and puncture its Basic Law.”
  • Algeria banned street marches that have lasted, off and on, for a year, threatening the elderly ruling elite.”
  • Azerbaijan’s president says the ‘isolation’ of members of the opposition may ‘become a historical necessity.’ Several have been locked up for supposedly violating a lockdown.”
  • “In Uganda police raided a shelter housing 20 gay and transgender people and later charged them with ‘congesting in a school-like-dormitory setting within a small house.’”
  • “In Turkey at least eight journalists have been arrested on charges of ‘spreading misinformation.’”
  • “In Bolivia the interim president, Jeanine Áñez, decreed that those who ‘misinform or cause uncertainty to the population’ can be jailed for one to ten years.”
  • “In Fiji there have been more coronavirus-related arrests than diagnostic tests.”

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